Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Who's In, Who's Out, and Who's Down

Let's start with the easy ones.

Down: General William Westmoreland, 91, WW2 hero and commander of U.S. forces in Viet Nam, at a retirement home in Charleston, South Carolina.

In: Dr. Lester M. Crawford, new permanent head of the Food and Drug Administration, after the Senate finally last night confirmed his nomination by President Bush, apparently by an "overwhelming" margin. I gather there was some controversy about the morning-after pill, and thus about abortion. This, folks, is where science and safety run head-on into immorality and social choices. That is, some folks make the social choice to hate women and hate sex, and they impose their immorality on the rest of us as best they can. The morning after pill is not abortion. It's contraception. Also, "life" does not "begin" at conception in any meaningful way. Life, as we now know, Begins at 30. (also see: "Life begins at 8:30"; "Life Begins at 50"; etc.)

Out: The New Harry Potter, wherein he is &-ed by the Half Blood Prince. Weekend box office for movies is not harmed (Willy Wonka), but apparently hundreds of thousands or even millions of people got started on the thick (several hundred pages shorter than at least one of its predecessors) book, as 8.9 million (ish) sales helped set a new record for mass buying.

Also Out: Larry Brown, sometime coach of the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team, may be done in Detroit as the Pistons "appear" to have finalized deals for his departure from the team.

Additionally Out: Andreas von Zitzewitz, who resigned from the board of Infineon Technologies in the last few days, is suspected of having accepted bribes or kickbacks in connection with a sports sponsorship deal.

Very, very Out: Eric R. Rudolph, unrepentent murderer and maimer of adult humans on behalf of unborn ones, was sentenced, unfortunately not to death. The bomber of the Birmingham, Ala. clinic, in an attack that left its director of nursing Emily Lyons half-blind and permanently damaged, made a fetching figure in the courtroom. The coward, sentenced to multiple life sentences already and with more to come for his attacks on abortion clinics, a gay club, and the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, is a terrorist in the most literal sense. Rudolph, who thinks he knows what God wants, took God's Justice into his own hands and hurt 150 people, killing 2. The sinner, who believes his stance against abortion (don't protest it, work to minimize its effects, try to discourage it, or speak about it; instead, murder the people who enable it) was dictated by faith and by his God, will presumably rot for the rest of his life in prison, unless someone someday pardons this sleazeball. Mr. Rudolph's only redeeming act: informing law enforcement where his cached supply of more than 250 pounds of explosives was hidded in North Carolina, which allowed the safe disposal of the potential hazard to any other innocents who came near. For this act of cooperation, prosecutors had agreed not to seek the death penalty.

A few more words on Rudolph, and then I'll forget about him until the day he dies:

  • he was a serial bomber
  • he thought that abortion, which he likened to vomitoriums, should be opposed by deadly force, and was upset that "Those who attempt to save the lives of unborn children and who wish to promote a culture that respects life are now treated as fanatics, threats to American freedom." Because he respected life so much, you see.
  • he was a cop-killer
  • he owes over a million dollars in restitution to victims and families who will never receive anything from him

I am ashamed of you, Mr. Rudolph, but mostly I am glad that you are imprisoned now and will not be able to murder any more humans. Innocent, guilty, sinners or saved, all were imperiled by your bloodthirsty and inexcusable rampage.


At 1:20 AM, July 20, 2005, Anonymous shell said...

Did they explain why Rudolph won't get the death penalty? I never figured out how the sentencing guideline works in these type of cases.

At 8:04 AM, July 20, 2005, Blogger Eh Nonymous said...

Did who explain? The individuals and offices in charge of deciding whether or not to seek the death penalty? Why, yes.

They said, "we're not going to seek the death penalty."

Now, to answer your question.

Judges don't impose death on a whim, not anymore. Even actions that potentially can be punished by the death penalty (different in many states, although murder of a police officer in the line of duty will get you an injection, a seat, or a firing squad, as applicable, almost everywhere they still have the D.P.) don't _have_ to be.

That is, a prosecutor can look at an 89-year-old defendant who killed a racist cop who attacked him in 1957, say, and decide to pursue the case (if she wants to) but not to seek the death penalty, because of the age of the defendant, the circumstances of the charged crime, or other considerations. Since prosecutors are elected, and often have interests in running for office, unfortunately these big decisions can be more motivated by "prudence" and ambition than ought to be.

Anyhoo, when you're charging a defendant with a death-penalty-enabling crime, a Capital crime, they have very little incentive to cooperate. "What's that? If I testify against my boss, you'll kill me anyway? Oh. Okay, go f___ yourself!" So, in order to gain leverage, prosecutors can promise not to seek the DP, or can promise to recommend a lighter sentence if applicable, to get defendants to cooperate.

In this case, there was a "ticking time bomb" of sorts- Rudolph left a stash of explosives. The prosecutors weighed the dangers, and decided that multiple life sentences was enough condemnation for this multiple murderer, that society would not suffer more if he faced the death penalty but random passerby potentially got blown up. More likely, they pictured what people would say if the prosecutors let that happen. No, I malign and libel, more likely they did their own moral weighing and decided that the life of the innocents outweighs the life of this very very guilty madman... and I don't mean he's insane, I just mean he's a killer with no sense of why what he did was wrong, even condemned by God.

Sentencing guidelines are about terms of years, mainly. Statutes that enable the death penalty are a different kind of specific. It's not a matter of "how much death" to give, so the nature of the test is different. There's still mitigating circumstances, aggravating circumstances, and some weighing to be done. But unless the prosecutors seek the death penalty, it won't happen.

It's called "prosecutorial discretion," but it's nothing of the sort. More on that another time.

At 1:56 AM, November 07, 2005, Blogger TheDevilIsInTheDetails said...

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